A last minute adventure that will linger for a lifetime…

Volunteer

Sometimes an adventure presents itself to you at the last minute and in that moment you need to take a leap of faith and just go for it!
I was invited to go to Mozambique 3 days before we left but despite the mad scramble to get ready for the trip, it was one of those adventures that lingered in my heart long afterwards.

Zoë-Life and Tearfund have a volunteering project in Bela Vista, Mozambique where they partner with Into Africa Missions to love, feed and train the people. Their heart is to invest in the people in the local community. Their vision is to build a clinic and an orphanage to help take care of the needs of the community.

Each day I woke up early to the sound of the rooster or the resident guinea fowl calling for its long lost mate. After sipping a few cups of fresh percolated roasted coffee, I was all set to start the day. Some of the activities that we did over the 6 days ranged from handing out food parcels to the poor to cleaning and building shelves in the kitchen at the visitor’s site.

We took food parcels to the neighbouring homes that were simple huts with a bed mat and a few other items. One of the moments that will forever be imprinted in my heart is the image of a vovo (grandmother) running out of her hut with her sucker and the widest grin you have ever seen. It just goes to show that pure enjoyment of a sucker is not limited to children but also the young at heart.

I spent some afternoons catching up on a nap or sipping tea while the children played in the tree house. The guys were determined to get busy so they spent time repairing the gutters that had been blown down after strong winds. The gum tree could also not withstand the heavy winds. It was one source of nature against the other and the mighty wind won the battle as the gum tree crashed to the ground a few weeks earlier.

The temperatures soared to 38 degrees Celsius so on those days cold showers were a cool relief after the heat and heavy work of the day.
The children had water guns and spent time running in the enclosed area and shooting bursts of water onto squealing friends. I welcomed the odd spray of water as it helped me stay cool in the sweltering heat.

Our trip took place just before Christmas so it was heartwarming to see how the children in the local church tucked into chips and juice at their Christmas party. They had been waiting in expectation throughout the service for their party to begin. This was another reminder to be grateful for the simple pleasures in life and to share whatever you have with those around you.

One of my highlights of the trip was Mama Rosa’s delicious Portuguese meal that she lovingly prepared for us. We were served Portuguese chicken and “patate fritte” (Mozambique chips) with a black bean, maize and potato dish. Desert was chocolate and vanilla cake with a thin layer of pastry in between. The hospitality of pastor Pinto and Mama Rosa was exceptional as we all felt like family sitting around a dining room table. As pastor Pinto mentioned “A meal eaten on your own does not taste as good as a meal eaten in the company of family and friends.”

So it was with sad hearts that we bid farewell to friends, delicious food and happy memories as the Toyota 4×4 turned onto the dirt road and headed back to Durban.

Contact Vicky on vicky@zoe-life.co.za or visit the Zoë-Life website volunteering page or visit global volunteering opportunities for more information about volunteer trips to Mozambique, India, Cambodia and other countries.

By: Sharon de Beer (16 Jan 2015)